10 glorious Gloucestershire locations to enjoy open-air theatre

Spanning beautiful gardens, unique amphitheatres and historic castles, pack a picnic and enjoy an alfresco performance at one of the best open-air theatre spots in Gloucestershire this summer.

Shakespeare famously wrote ‘all the world’s a stage’ – and this certainly rings true in Gloucestershire this summer, with open-air theatre events taking place at some of the most picturesque locations across the county.

Boasting outdoor drama, the bard under the stars and fine family entertainment, SoGlos has handpicked 10 of our favourite places to enjoy an alfresco theatre performance in Gloucestershire.

1. Outdoor theatre at Victoria Park in Tewkesbury

Transforming Tewkesbury’s Victoria Park into a tropical paradise, Treasure Island from The Roses Theatre takes to the outdoor stage near the picturesque riverbank from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 July 2022.

The swashbuckling adventure from the team behind (Almost) A Midsummer Night’s Dream and (Almost) A Christmas Carol promises to be a family-friendly, action-packed pirate adventure so roll out your picnic blanket and enjoy the show.

2. Outdoor theatre at Painswick Rococo Garden near Stroud

Painswick Rococo Garden offers an enchanting setting for an outdoor show, boasting striking, colourful follies, pretty woodlands and glorious views across the countryside.

It’s fitting venue for The Handlebards performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 July, full of drunken antics and cross-dressing from the bicycled-powered troupe. There’s also Rapunzel from IKP taking place on Monday 29 August 2022, promising lots of giggles, slapstick comedy and puppetry that’s sure to keep little ones and grown-ups entertained.

3. Outdoor theatre at Longborough Festival Opera in the Cotswolds

With an edgy take on one of the most popular operas in the world, audiences can see Bizet’s story of passion, jealousy and freedom Carmen at Longborough Festival Opera from Saturday 9 to Tuesday 19 July 2022.

Providing an utterly unique setting to experience opera, the Longborough Festival Opera encourages guests to pack a picnic and arrive early to enjoy a glass of Champagne and soak in the glorious Cotswold views – or book a table to enjoy luxury dining in the festival restaurant.

4. Outdoor theatre at Sudeley Castle near Cheltenham

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men present a period-accurate production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It performed by an all-male cast in full Elizabethan costume at Sudeley Castle this summer.

Taking to the stage on Thursday 21 July 2022, audiences can expect music, dance, cross-dressing and comedy with the Tudor palace’s gardens providing a spectacular setting for an open-air show.

5. Outdoor theatre at Berkeley Castle near Stroud

The imposing Berkley Castle near Stroud provides a spectacular backdrop for outdoor theatre performances this summer, with Shakespeare’s most famous fairy-tale A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Sunday 7 and Monday 8 August 2022.

There are interactive children’s theatre experiences taking place during the summer holidays, with Boudica and The Green Knight on Sunday 21 August; and an explosively comical performance of The Gunpowder Plot on Sunday 11 September 2022, too.

6. Outdoor theatre at Llanthony Secunda Priory in Gloucester

Gloucester’s historic Llanthony Secunda Priory plays host to three outdoor theatre shows this summer 2022, from Shakespearean classics to family fun.

On Saturday 18 June, families can enjoy a thrilling performance of Awful Auntie from Heartbreak Productions – a must for David Walliams fans. The Pantaloons take to the outdoor stage for a tale of masks, music and mistaken identities with Much Ado About Nothing on Wednesday 6 July; before returning to the priory on Wednesday 17 August 2022 for their comical take on sci-fi classic War of the Worlds.

7. Outdoor theatre at Tuckwell Amphitheatre in Cheltenham

Tuckwell Amphitheatre plays host to Bacon Theatre’s annual Open Air Theatre Festival this August 2022, with a packed programme of shows.

Highlights include a brand-new Gilbert and Sullivan production of Iolanthe from Opera Anywhere; a family-friendly stage adaptation of The Jungle Book, that’s suitable for little theatre-lovers aged four and up, as well as a performance of the classic Pygmalion, both from DOT Productions; and a carnival-inspired adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s gothic masterpiece Jane Eyre from Heartbreak Productions.

8. Outdoor theatre at Sandford Parks Lido in Cheltenham

Providing a dreamy poolside setting for outdoor theatre, Cheltenham’s Sandford Parks Lido is a great spot to enjoy a show this summer.

Taking place in its luscious grounds, families can enjoy a magical performance of children’s classic fairy story Peter Pan on Saturday 11 June, which promises REAL flying! As well as A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Friday 24 June 2022.

9. Outdoor theatre at Berrybank Park in the Cotswolds

The brand-new amphitheatre at Berrybank Park in the Cotswolds gives audiences a chance to enjoy outdoor theatre on an ancient wold with uninterrupted views of the Evenlode Valley.

Its season of performances runs from June to September 2022, with highlights including Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour: Julius Caesar, The Importance of Being Earnest from Slapstick Picnic, The Woman in White performed by Heady Conduct Theatre, Opera Anywhere’s The Pirates of Penzance and leading outdoor theatre practitioners Illyria performing Peter Pan.

10. Outdoor theatre at Eastnor Castle

Just across the Gloucestershire border in Herefordshire, Heartbreak Productions stages a reality TV-inspired performance of Twelfth Night in the grounds of the spectacular Eastnor Castle on Sunday 12 June 2022.

Shakespeare meets Love Island meets Big Brother in this fresh take on a classic, which promises to be close enough to the original tale for die-hard Bard fans, while simultaneously mixing it up for a modern audience.

By Chloe Gorman

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© SoGlos
Monday 23 May 2022

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